Archives for September 2008

Why Don’t We Use What We Already Know?

One of the most frequent comments I see on self-development blogs is, “thanks for reminding me.” Often this is followed by the exasperating question, “I know this stuff; why do I forget to use it?”

Why do we forget to use what we already know to be useful for us?

When this occurs, have we really learned it well in the first place?

Perhaps we’ve read something a few times and we assume we’ve learned it because we recognize it when we see it again. But have we learned it deeply enough for it to become a habit?

Particularly in the practice of self-development, why do we tend to slip back into less-than-conscious, default behaviors that don’t serve us well?

Is it a matter of a lack of awareness?

It could be. But I think it’s mainly because we’ve unwittingly fallen under the influence of an outside belief that appears to be strong. As we absorb that outside belief, and as we do, it latches onto other limiting, pre-existing beliefs; before we know it, we are focusing on the lack of what we really want.

For example, take our so-called “troubled” economy. I generally don’t watch national newscasts but I’ve been so excited about having a real choice in the year’s presidential election that I got sucked into all the news regarding the economic bailout. Even though I consciously choose my thoughts, the insidious nature of doom and gloom affected the future I was imagining.

Gratefully, I was jarred back to an abundant reality by reading Slade Roberson’s excellent post, Paper Money Airplane.

Here’s the bottom line when it comes to creating our own reality: garbage in results in garbage out. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known something, you aren’t immune to a fearful collective consciousness with an opposing view. Remain diligent, filter your outside influences, and decide what you know as often as necessary to create the life and business you desire.

If all of this depressing economic news has you down, decide to clear it now by watching this excellent video of Brad Yates using EFT (emotional freedom technique).

I’m interested; in the comments, please tell me why you don’t always use what you already know.

How to Beat the Work Life Blues

Working in a job you hate kills your spirit and drains your energy. But you’ll never escape the hell you’re in by bitching and moaning about it.

What we focus on, expands. What we give our attention to; we get more of. What we look at, whether it is pleasing or upsetting, becomes our focus point of expansion. When considering a career transition, everything we resist persists – because we are giving it our attention. It doesn’t matter if your boss is stealing all your good ideas; by complaining about it, you are keeping yourself locked in the same prison.

Worry, complaint, blame and doubt are powerful forces of resistance that tend to keep us stuck within the very situations we wish to be free of. Yet there is always a way out and it comes from having the courage to see and make a better choice.

Here’s a powerful method I’ve adapted for my career coaching, from Eckhart Tolle’s excellent book, The Power of Now.

In all challenging situations, you only have the following four choices, the first of which is counterproductive.

1). You can resist, complain or deny, and remain stuck within the situation.

Resistance is any from of complaint, argument, blame, negativity, impatience, anger or irritation. Well how about it? Have you been resisting your crappy job? Stop it! Instead choose one of the choices below or you’ll never get out. We really can’t beat the work life blues, with force but we can transition to fulfillment by making better choices.

2). You can remove yourself from the situation.

You know in your heart that walking away is an option.

3). You can work with others to change it.

If (and I know this is a big “if”) you have co-workers and management who will work with you to make the changes, you can make a lousy job less so.

4). You can accept it.

Acceptance is not giving up and it is not agreement. It is simply your active choice that, for now, you just won’t fight it. For now, you’re not going to let them get to you. For now, you’ll cheerfully acknowledge that this is the best you can do, given all of the circumstances. Then you are free to put your energy on the kind of work that you really want.

That’s it. There are no other choices! Often when coaching a client who is in the middle of stressful circumstances, they fight choosing options 2, 3, or 4. That means, by default, they have chosen to remain in a prison of their own making. When we choose not to accept, change or remove ourselves from a situation, we are stuck solidly within resistance.

Opportunity comes directly from clarity of decision and action. By deciding which of the three positive choices you are making, you increase the likelihood of greater opportunity – because you have lessened resistance.

Then you can apply a relief formula that always works:

Gratitude + Less Resistance = Increased Opportunity

Gratitude, recognizing and appreciating one’s blessings, gives you greater strength. If you are working in an unfulfilling job, there must be something good about it. Focus on that – and do not resist! Then your energy will remain strong and you will have put yourself in the best position to make your move to more fulfilling work.

Remember, whatever we focus on, we get more of. What we resist, persists.

In all things, you have a choice as to how you’ll respond. You can resist by hoping that another person or condition will change, or you can choose to work the formula on your own behalf.

How have you resisted your work?

Does it make sense for you to change your focus and make another choice today?

Authentic Business Discovery

The absolute sweet spot of your business is that place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. But how do we find a need so deep that fulfilling it would also make us feel so good?

There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to discovering the right business to launch. One school seems to be more spiritually based – focused on finding work that you love, following your passion and living a purposeful life.

The second school appears to be more practical; focused on finding a need and filling it and about designing a business to alleviate your customer’s pain.

Which school of thought would serve you best right now? Most likely, it’s the opposite of the one you believe in the most.

Vocation is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. Frederich Buechner

That’s right, following Buechner’s formula, to build a profitable and fulfilling business we need to develop our businesses guided by the wisdom of both schools.

So how do you identify a potentially profitable business that is deeply fulfilling to you and deeply gratifying in service to your clients or customers?

One effective way is to put yourself in an environment that honors your creativity while at the same time insisting on your productivity.  You could attend a Big Link Rally event. You can visit my coaching website and request an exploratory conversation. Without accountability and commitment to action, even the best original ideas die on the vine.

What else could you do to get to the point of a confident new business launch?

1.) Get very clear on one end of the spectrum by identifying a deep gladness or a deep need.

2.) Then persistently observe, brainstorm ideas, consider approaches and seek openings until you have a matching need or gladness that feels strong enough to develop.

3.) Then imagine the fulfillment of that gladness and need working together seamlessly in a profitable business that you own. Do this by answering these questions as if you have already succeeded.

  • How have you changed the world for you and your clients?
  • What can they do now that they couldn’t before purchasing your product/service?
  • What can you do or be now which you were reluctant to experience before developing this wonderful business?

4.) Write down all of your answers and continue to make adjustments until you can withstand the sharpest of challenges when questioned about your projected business.

5.) Then once you’ve decided and committed, continue to identify the next best step that you can complete to move you further each week and take that action.

Personally I like to get so fired up that my business feels like I’m starting a revolution. My mission needs to inspire me to that degree.

How about you, how can you tell that you’re on the right track?

What’s the best combination of personal gladness and customer gratification that you can imagine and believe in?

If you’re already in business what deep need are you now fulfilling?

If you have yet to start your own business what deep need would give you deep gladness to provide?

Spirit and Business

Yesterday I was leading a coaching group, via phone, on developing the confidence to be your own boss. During class we discussed the concept of burning desire and its origination from Spirit or God. Have you ever considered where your new business ideas come from?

Interestingly this talk about desire surfaced when we were addressing how so many budding entrepreneurs fear that their business ideas won’t create enough income for their family’s needs. Fear around the lack of money is the number one obstacle that stops new business owners from ever getting started.

Many in this phone class were emboldened by this idea of being blessed with Divine desire. We agreed, that it’s spiritually meaningful that we’ve all been gifted with unique talents and strengths. There must be some practical reason for this Divine differentiation and that is this: we are already equipped to build the business that we want to build. Laurie from class said, “I don’t think God would send us on a wild goose chase.” I agree. I believe in a loving Spirit that wants only good for us.

Read this powerfully inspiring sentence from Emilie Cady’s classic, Lessons In Truth. Then read it again and really let it sink in.

Desire is the thing you want in incipiency; that is, the thing you desire is not only for you, but has already been started toward you out of the heart of God; and it is the first approach of the thing itself striking you that makes you desire it, or even think of it at all. Emilie Cady

This means that from the initial moment that a faint flicker of the idea flashed into your mind, your new business has already launched. Your burning desire for a new business has already formed in the universal ethers and it is just waiting for your commitment to bring it into being.

Please consider this: if you’re business idea did come directly from the heart of God, aren’t you showing tremendous disrespect by not making your move to the freedom of self-employment?

If you don’t believe that desires are Divinely sent, then what do you believe in, randomness? I’m not endorsing predetermination in any way. Certainly you’re uniquely equipped to build the business you were meant to build. But that’s as far as it goes. Our free will takes over then and what we ultimately develop is based on the choices we make.

In my coaching practice, I’ve always taken a holistic approach because it seems silly not to use everything that we have. We have four realms of power why use less? I find it surprising, that many fear using their spiritual strengths in their businesses. It’s one reason I enjoy working more with solopreneurs than with corporations. With the self-employed there is less emphasis on what’s appropriate and greater emphasis on what’s effective.

What about you? Have you had a business hunch you haven’t acted on?

Where do you think it came from?

Do you routinely engage Spirit in your business?


Finding Your Business Sweet Spot

Since each of us has unique desires, values and strengths, it follows that each of us also has a unique business in us that we could build better than anyone else. Discovering that business, and then developing the confidence to launch it, is what stops most folks from enjoying the fulfillment, freedom and prosperity that was meant to be theirs. The absolute sweet spot of your business is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.

Vocation is where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. Frederich Buechner

Risk, self-created pressure, marketplace demands and the lack of financial reserve are all factors that raise the new business bar high. You can lower the bar by understanding exactly which areas need attention, adjustment and strengthened before you make your move.

Al at 7P Productions recently asked an excellent question that’s worth considering in light of a new business launch. What’s Important: Who You Are or What You Do? I vacillated answering until I realized that it’s not “either/or.” These are only two of three spokes in the wheel to really get your new business rolling. In entrepreneurship and business success all three are equally important.

1). Personal Growth is what you know, understand and are willing to engage in about yourself.

2). Business Mastery is your proficiency in utilizing what you know and understand about business.

3). Personal Productivity is what you commit to and take action on to bring it all together.

Will you turn into Superman by identifying these three components of business success? No, but you will have the confidence of Superman – and the lack of inspired confidence is often what stops folks from living their dreams.

Looking at these three, where is your ideal point of adjustment for either growing your existing business or launching a new business? Adjusting simply means to bring into proper relationship with one another – and the closer we get to alignment the easier the business runs. Identifying and adjusting the right path represents our operational sweet spot.

Here’s an example of a misdiagnosed adjustment. In a 23-year sales career, often I would see new sales people struggling with lackluster results. Many needed to go deep within and examine their feelings around personal rejection. Yet Stupido, the sales manager, would give this brilliant advice. “Just make more cold calls and you’ll be okay.” Stupido pushed his timid new reps to adjust in the area of personal productivity when their true adjustment was in the area of personal growth. How long do you think they lasted?

Cath Lawson recently wrote an insightful post 7 Questions To Ask Before You Launch A Business.
Each of her questions falls under one of these components. Read her post and see if you can tell which goes where.

Personal growth could also be called awareness or development. Hold on now; before any of you spiritual purists start a debate on this, please let me explain. I agree, at a core level there is no development necessary because we already are whole and complete. Yet a funny thing happened on the way to maturity; we rubbed up against a whole passel of folks who didn’t see themselves as whole and complete. Because of this conditioning, to successfully launch a new business, some growth is necessary.

Everything worthwhile requires more of us than we originally imagined. This is a given, and no one gets a free pass. Eventually we’re all challenged beyond our point of development and we have the choice to work through it, stall out or quit.

Bottom line, the choice is yours to recognize the extraordinary person you already are. You can listen to your excuses or to the drumbeat of freedom. You’ve proven that you have the wisdom to consider the freedom of self-employment or you probably wouldn’t be reading this post.

Adjusting for optimum personal growth is not a matter of becoming anything – it’s more a matter of choosing to live into your preexisting greatness by facing your fear and moving through it.

Using blogging as an example, you may need to become more vulnerable and share more of yourself on each post. You may have to work to find your authentic voice or even your real purpose in blogging. But whether you look at blogging as a business or not, your sweet spot exists and you will enjoy greater fulfillment and help more people by finding it.

Business mastery is made up of methods, strategies, systems, concepts and processes. How well you understand and utilize the right components at the right time determines the effectiveness and efficiency of your business. There is an optimum way for everything, and struggle is only valuable as a lesson. Struggle is not a strategy.

Business Mastery is your proficiency in utilizing what you know and understand about business. It’s often the “how to” of business. Budding entrepreneurs used to say, “I don’t know how,” and it used to be a credible lament. But now the Internet has made that excuse obsolete. As little as 10 years ago, start-up knowledge was difficult to access. Now we have so much at our fingertips that the challenge is deciding what sources to use. But it is all out there somewhere.

Adjusting for optimum business mastery is deciding on the right business model and identifying exactly what you need to know that you may not be aware of. An experienced business coach or mentor can provide extremely valuable counsel for this adjustment.

Personal Productivity is taking commitment all the way through taking frequent actions that are the right actions at the right time, while tapping one’s resources to the maximum. The personal growth of awareness and the knowledge of business mastery are useless without action. Generally it boils down to a matter of doing what you can do today, and then taking action again tomorrow.

For most, the optimum adjustment point in personal productivity is to ramp up the frequency of meaningful actions.

Whether contemplating a new business launch or building an existing business, you would be wise to consider the location of your optimum point of adjustment.

What is your optimum point of adjustment right now?


Believe It Or Not

I’ve found delightful work to be an illusive experience for many folks. Often it’s more effective to approach the discovery of delightful work in multiple and varied ways. Sometimes we need to sneak up on our own minds to extract the wisdom within. Other times we can set an intention and go for a full frontal exploration. And sometimes it works well to release long-held beliefs in order to consider what might reveal itself.

First let’s look at some distinctions and definitions. A calling or vocation is generally considered to be more spiritually meaningful or purposeful than a career. Builders of careers tend to be more focused on advancement from one level to the next. I coined the term delightful work because none of the existing terms, including right livelihood and vocation, seemed to carry the exact meaning I was looking for. Delightful work is work that has all the elements of deep delight:, freedom, deeply fulfilling gladness and financial prosperity.

In my very first post, 362 days ago, I said that delightful work is: amusing, attractive, captivating, clever, engaging, enjoyable, fascinating, gratifying, luscious and thrilling.

It’s that level of delight that I wish to encourage and inspire in all, simply because it’s possible for all. Yet it’s only possible for you if you think it is.

So, in this post, I’m asking you to use your imagination to consider some new beliefs around what you think is possible in your work life. I’m asking you to expand your thoughts beyond the realms of your existing beliefs. Are you willing to do so?

Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning. Mahatma Ghandi

You could debate me on this one, but I think that all of our beliefs tend to be limited in some way. I’ve even met folks who believe we’re better off without any beliefs. Yet even that’s a belief, isn’t it?

Each of our beliefs at one time was only a single thought based on something that we observed or thought we observed. We often didn’t question these thoughts or even consciously look at them. We simply accepted them and they became true for us over time, as one thought built on another. Thoughts and beliefs tend to attract and collect matching thoughts that build credibility and create the beliefs we have today.

So what are your beliefs regarding fulfillment in your work? I invite you to take out pen and paper (or keyboard and fingers) and try answering some or all of the following questions.

What earning limits do you see as possible for yourself?

How about freedom, is it likely that you’ll be completely autonomous in your work someday soon?

How delighted are you to face each new day?

How often is your work captivating and thrilling?

What’s the most delightful expression of delightful work that you can imagine enjoying?

Vocation is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. Frederick Buechner

To increase the probability of even more delightful work, it’s necessary to set the highest of standards because without those we often settle for something less.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more about this sweet spot between the world’s deep need and your deep gladness. In the meantime, consider the possibilities.

What beliefs regarding work are you willing to replace or expand?

Which beliefs no longer serve you well?

I’m Not Ready Yet

Often an employee who wants the freedom of being her own boss will make a statement about her lack of readiness. Have you considered what makes us ready or not? Readiness is a self-described, subjective state of being that is not usually given the consideration it deserves.

Often when folks declare a lack of readiness they can’t answer this question. What exactly needs to change for you to be ready? This tells me that they may not really be working on their readiness but complacently existing in the never-never land of avoidance.

I think it’s fascinating that in our games playing we get set and ready. Skeet shooting wouldn’t be much fun unless we were primed and loaded for action. Try catching any ball when you don’t know it’s being thrown. Yet in life, when much more is on the line, we don’t often invest in the same level of awareness or preparedness.

Some even prefer a ready-fire-aim philosophy. These folks would rather be thrown into the fire so that they are forced to adapt and respond. Is there a more effective way to increase our readiness? I think there is.

Yet are we ever completely ready for big life challenges? I’m not sure we can be or even want to be because then our sense of adventure would be dimmed.

But there does seem to be a readiness progression of sorts that can certainly make us more ready than randomness does.

1). Willingness is a state of openness and receptivity to the possibility of change. Readiness begins with being willing to change. Without willingness we aren’t even in the ballpark let alone the game.

2). Fitness is just beyond willingness. It’s when we’ve begun to condition ourselves to the possibilities and various scenarios that could happen.

3). Alertness is just beyond fitness. In this state we are poised and primed for action. Here we have crossed over the line of expectation by making a deliberate decision. We now know that we’ll make our move.

4). Preparedness is the final most advanced stage of readiness. It’s when we know that the move or change is imminent and we stand confidently ready to face it. This is the “bring it on” state of mind that says I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

At what stage of readiness do you find yourself regarding your next big move?

What do you really mean when you say you aren’t yet ready?

When you say that you aren’t ready, do you have a strategy for readiness or is it more likely a defense or excuse against action?

What makes you feel like you’re ready?